ROME, Italy — They miss us more than we miss them.
That was the essence of Rory McIlroy’s words about the noticeably absent players from LIV Golf on Wednesday in advance of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Country Club.
Among the 24 players from the U.S. and Europe competing this week only one — Brooks Koepka — is a member of the controversial Saudi-backed tour that has set the game on its ear.
Not present this week are European Ryder Cup stalwarts like Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson, all of whom are members of LIV Golf.
Stenson was tabbed as the European captain but stripped of that title when he joined LIV, replaced by Luke Donald.
McIlroy conceded Wednesday that “it’s certainly a little strange not having (LIV players) around this week.”
Since the inception of LIV Golf, McIlroy has been aligned with the PGA Tour in denouncing LIV.
So Wednesday, he couldn’t help from taking a gratuitous jab.
“This week of all weeks, its going to hit home with them that they are not here and I think they are going to miss being here more than we’re missing them,” McIlroy said.
“I think this week is a realization that the decision that they made has led to not being a part of this week, and that’s tough.”